Upon arriving at the party Emma and Shu-Shu notice that no one is giving gifts to the King for his birthday. Instead they are giving each other gifts. The King notices Emma's confusions and explains to her that over the years people have forgotten that He too would like a gift, a gift given from the heart. He then explains that He sent all those needy people along the way to the party and He was so glad that Emma showed the true spirit of Christmas in giving.
Positives: A delightful story and a wonderful message for children and adults to remember. This story clearly communicates the importance of giving to others and the joy we can experience. I did like at the end where the author invites kids to log onto the website for ideas on how they can give. The website was not up yet, but I do hope it provides ideas for kids to be active in and not just links for places they can give money.
Negatives: While it is implied, it is never stated that the King is Jesus. I think it is important, especially for young children, to understand this. The author uses Matthew 25: 37-40 as the basis for his ideas and motivation on giving. This passage is specifically speaking of taking care of other believers, and I don't believe that is expressed in the story. There are many passages however, that do tell us to love and care for all people.
Talking Points: This story is a wonderful springboard for question and discussion, especially around the holidays. I think children need to understand that the greatest gift they can ever give someone is the gospel message. This may be accompanied by food, water, clothing or other necessities, but the greatest need any person has is for their soul to be right with God. We can also talk about our attitude toward giving. We should have the attitude that Jesus did that is expressed in Phil. 2:5-8. I would also take my kids to the book of James. Chapter 1 talks about caring for orphans and widows and subsequent chapters deal with how we treat brothers and sister in need. As you consider where you might give a monetary gift or volunteer your time I would highly encourage you to teach your children the importance of spreading the gospel. Invest your time and money where the gospel is being proclaimed.
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